Our clients ask us all the time about benchmarking. They’re keen to know how they compare to their peers. It’s always the usual suspects such as website conversion or industry click through rate that gets our client wondering how they stack up.
Knowing how you compare against similar companies is a great way to gain perspective on your own performance and can be a terrific identifier of poor execution (or excellent competitor activation), if those KPIs are not being met.
Knowing how your business compares to others is great for the following reasons:
- It means you have to get a handle on your own performance first, before you can compare to others, which creates rigour and processes that can only be good.
- It creates a culture within your business where your team will seek to improve and strive for marketing excellence.
- It is a sure-fire way to spot areas of under-performance and see how you can improve.
What metrics should businesses benchmark?
This question really comes down to the individual business, the marketing department KPIs and past performance, i.e. what you have reported on in the past. For us, a B2B agency, we always encourage our clients to think all the way through the funnel, not just at the top-line ‘vanity’ stats such as open rate, web visits, bounce rate or time on site.
These all matter of course, and knowing industry standards and being able to shift the needle on these metrics can have positive impacts on performance. Looking further down the funnel also changes the what you do at the top and gives greater insight. We’re always encouraging clients to benchmark leads, MQLs working all the way through to funnel. By benchmarking this, you really will drive marketing excellence.
Start by benchmarking yourself
How many times do you plan a campaign and pick an arbitrary number of leads as a target? Probably a lot. This number may be driven by the leadership team based on projected sales targets or could be the number of leads required to satisfy the sales leaders who need to keep their reps busy.
We recommend starting with previous performance. When was the last time you looked at your marketing performance (BAU or campaign) to establish your current conversion rate? Most businesses do it rarely, and if the prospects we speak to are anything to go by, the answer would be never.
In short: past performance needs to be the baseline of your benchmark. It’s a rich data bank, and we encourage businesses to go back and look at their conversion rates from each channel to get an understanding of what their future activities will deliver, and what outcomes are required to smash those numbers.
Once you mix those previous performance benchmarks with industry averages, you start to get a really clear picture of what is working and what needs improving. Once activity is live, that knowledge will focus the mind on what activity needs propping up and what needs doubling down on.
If you’ve got more data, then you can look deeper. For example, if you’re aware of your total addressable market (TAM) and you need to get traction within it, then your approach can be different. That said, you still need to know your current position, have an idea of how you think you’ll perform, or have some good baseline data to model the performance on.
For example, say your Executive team throw an objective of ‘increase TAM by 5%’ – do you know what that would look like and how to execute to achieve it, and what numbers you need?
Analyse the data
To establish internal benchmarks you need to ensure you are tracking all of your activity, and are able to analyse the data to establish clear metrics. These data points will most likely be buried in different platforms and presented in different formats, so it will take some effort to get performance metrics out in the open. The outcomes are well worth the effort as they will give you a 360-degree view of your performance, which means you can accurately predict future performance, and with the right tweaks, grow those numbers and even establish benchmarks.
Seeking expert insight
As I alluded to above, the data is often in different formats and different platforms. Pulling the data together in a way that makes sense across multiple platforms is often a challenge, but something that we’ve helped several clients with. Combining data sets to deeper analysis and better understanding of funnel modelling is something we’ve got plenty of insight on.
So whether it’s knowing the campaign benchmarks and what your peers are achieving, or modelling data to a deeper level, we can help.
Want to know how you stack up? Get in touch and discover how to give your marketing the boost it deserves.